The recent disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is being used by scammers to spread malware through social media and emails.
If you receive an email or social media message linking to a news report or video about the flight, be cautious about clicking links or viewing video, they could be malicious.
Scammers have a long history of using popular current events to entice you into clicking links to malicious pages where malware can be installed on your computer. Recent examples include the Boston Marathon bombings and the Royal Baby announcement.
In each of these scams you are encouraged to click on a link, leading to malware downloading on to your computer.
This latest example focuses the global concern over the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The message appeals to you to click on the video link.
The associated link can take you to a website that appears to be a legitimate website (such as the BBC) however it is a fake.
The following image shows an example of one such website.
Email survey scam
Consumers are advised to be wary of spam emails that offer a prize in return for completing a survey. In many cases, these surveys are not legitimate and pose a threat to your computer or privacy. If you receive an unsolicited message asking you to complete a survey, you should simply delete it.
There is a current increase in the amount of spam asking recipients to complete a survey to receive a prize or present. The prize could be anything, but recent trends include offers of a credit card, electronic equipment or travel.
One example recently highlighted by security vendor SPAMfighter noted survey spam targeting users of Australian banks with customer satisfaction surveys. The spam included a link which appears to go to the legitimate bank website, however sent the user to a faked survey website.
Scam email alert
P&N is aware of a scam email being circulated which advises the recipient that due to a system upgrade they are required to click on a link to ensure their PC remains compatible with ours.
The link downloads a virus onto your PC and as such, P&N strongly urges any members receiving this email to ignore and delete the email. Under no circumstances should you click on the link.
Please be aware that P&N will never contact our members in this way, asking you to either click on a link or provide password details.
If you have inadvertently clicked on this link please contact us as soon as possible.
P&N is aware of a hoax email being distributed which advises that a copy of your account statement has been forwarded to the sender of the email by P&N.
The email contains an attachment, which the content of the email describes as a copy of a bank statement and urges you to open the attachment and print a copy of the statement, to provide to your financial institution. The attachment is in fact a computer virus, which once opened, may allow the sender of the email to capture your log-on and password to Netlink online banking the next time you log on.
We strongly urge you to ignore and delete this email and under no circumstances should you open the attachment.
If you have inadvertently opened the attachment or have any questions, please contact us as soon as possible.
Email scams (phishing)
Phishing scams operate by sending a fraudulent email that appears to be from your financial institution. The email asks you to reconfirm information such as your online banking log on details, account numbers or PIN. The email might also request that you click on a link to another website and enter your online banking log on details. These emails can look very professional and legitimate, often displaying your financial institution's logo. However, the scam operators then use these methods to gather information and access your accounts.
It is important to remember that P&N and other legitimate financial institutions will never request this type of information via email or ask you to confirm your passwords and PIN under any circumstances.
If you think that you have received a phishing email, please contact us.
Tax office scam email
The Tax Office is warning people about a fraudulent email being circulated that claims to offer a refund from the Tax Office.
The email fraudulently uses the Tax Office logo and the words ‘Australian Taxation Office – Notification’ or ‘Australian Taxation Office – Please Read This’ in the subject line (there may also be variations to these titles).
Acting Tax Commissioner Greg Farr said anyone who receives the email should delete it immediately.
The email asks people to click on a link which redirects them to a bogus website that looks similar to the Tax Office website and asks for credit card and personal details in order to receive a refund.
The email and website are not affiliated with the Tax Office in any way.
"With the 31 October deadline for tax returns approaching, people should be particularly wary of any unsolicited emails claiming to be from the Tax Office,” Mr Farr said.
“The Tax Office will never send an email to people asking them to provide personal information or credit card details.”
Should you have already responded to this e-mail, please contact us immediately to ensure that your card is cancelled and a replacement issued.
Point of sale EFTPOS skimming fraud
EFTPOS skimming occurs when skimming and PIN capturing devices are illegally fitted to EFTPOS machines at retail and other outlets.
P&N advises our members to take the following steps to protect themselves against this fraudulent activity:
- Check your credit and/or debit card statements to ensure all withdrawals that have been made are legitimate
- Should you detect any questionable transactions please contact us immediately to verify these transactions
- Protect your personal credit and debit card details at all times
- Report to police any information you may have concerning tampering with or theft of EFTPOS machines
Lottery scams and pyramid selling schemes
These scams work by promising large amounts of money in return for sending a smaller amount upfront. You may receive an email saying that you have won a lottery and need to send money to collect your prize; or that you have been invited to participate in a money making scheme. An important point to remember is with these types of scams is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Never respond or send money.
Have you seen an advertisment or received an email about a job which involves receiving money into your bank account and sending it overseas?
These are not legitimate jobs. You should immediately delete any such emails.
These types of jobs are what we call 'mule recruitment' - that is, attempting to get you to receive stolen funds using your bank account and then transfer those funds to criminals overseas. Criminals send out millions of these fraudulent job emails to random email addresses in the hope of involving unsuspecting innocent people in their criminal activity. Criminals also advertise these bogus jobs on popular employment or job-seeking websites.
Depending on the circumstances, it is possible that people who agree to participate in these "jobs" may be prosecuted as money launderers. If you have received money into your bank account, transferred or attempted to transfer money overseas in these circumstances, please contact us immediately.
For more details check out the Scamwatch website.
If you are selling something over the internet or through the classifieds, you may be targeted by a cheque overpayment scam. You might receive an offer from a potential buyer (often quite generous) and accept it. The scammer then sends you a cheque, but the cheque is for more money than the agreed price.
The scammer will invent an excuse for the overpayment. For example, the scammer might tell you that the extra money is meant to cover the fees of an agent or extra shipping costs. The scammer might just say that it was a mistake they made when they wrote the cheque.
The scammer will then ask you to refund the excess amount—usually through an online banking transfer or a wire transfer (such as Western Union). The scammer is hoping that you will do this before you discover that their cheque has bounced. You will have lost the money you paid into their account, and if you have already sent the item you were selling, you will lose this as well. At the very least, the scammer will have wasted your time and prevented you from accepting any legitimate offers.